UCP Seguin Uses Zoom to Improve Service Offerings for Chicago-Area Residents with Disabilities, Special Needs
With Zoom, UCP Seguin was able to enhance the delivery of critical services and training sessions and reduce costs.
Founded: 1949 (merged with UCP Chicago in 2013)
Headquarters: Cicero, Illinois
Challenges: Coordinating convenient training for internal and external staff, travel costs, improving service delivery
Solution: Zoom Meetings
Business Benefits: Flexibility to attend meetings and training from anywhere, reduced mileage reimbursements, more time with clients
We have seven different sites, and I kept asking myself, ‘Why am I driving 15 to 20 miles from my office to the main office for a one-hour meeting?’ It just didn’t make any sense.
Joseph MengoniVice President of Residential and Clinical Services, UCP Seguin
While there are many organizations dedicated to caring for the disabled, there are few organizations that offer the exceptional level of comprehensive care that UCP Seguin provides. Borne out of a Seguin Services merger with United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Chicago in 2013, UCP Seguin is a nonprofit social service agency that supports the needs of over 1,200 adults and children with developmental disabilities and special needs in the suburbs of western Chicago.
With seven day program sites, 75 group homes, and 110 family homes for children in foster care, UCP Seguin offers a wide range of services, including behavioral health, nursing, and counseling services, as well as life-skills and job training for adults. UCP Seguin also provides training sessions for its employees, enabling them to improve services while learning important new skills and techniques. Providing these critical services for employees and clients across so many homes and locations requires a flexible platform that allows for seamless communications and offers reliable performance.
The need for streamlined operations and communication
UCP Seguin has day programs, group homes, and family homes spread around the city and suburbs of Chicago, and the size of their service area made it difficult to coordinate training sessions with staff. Many of UCP Seguin’s staff were commuting across the city multiple times a month to attend training sessions at the main office.
“We have seven different sites,” said Joseph Mengoni, Vice President of Residential and Clinical Services at UCP Seguin. “And I kept asking myself, ‘Why am I driving 15 to 20 miles from my office to the main office for a one-hour meeting?’ It just didn’t make any sense.”
Because UCP Seguin offers mileage reimbursement for its employees that must travel to different locations, this constant back and forth between offices was driving up operational costs and taking valuable resources away from client care, UCP Seguin’s core mission. The constant travel also meant employees were wasting valuable time commuting rather than caring for clients or actively learning new skills.
Reducing travel with Zoom
The teams at UCP Seguin were first exposed to Zoom during their merger with UCP Chicago, which used Zoom’s video conferencing platform for its technology assistance program, Infinitec. Infinitec relied on Zoom to deliver online training and coordinate operations with representatives in states across the Midwest, and after seeing the platform in action, Mengoni loved the intuitive nature and the ease of use of Zoom’s video conferencing platform.
“We planned on hiring an IT firm to set up Zoom in our offices, but that was too expensive,” Mengoni said. “We decided to set it up ourselves, and it was actually very easy. I’m not an IT expert, but I was able to install and set up all the components myself.”
Mengoni and his teams began hosting their staff training sessions and meetings over Zoom, which saved team members from traveling across the city and gave them more time with program participants. Because of the reduced travel, UCP Seguin projects it will be able to cut its spending by $12,000 annually on mileage reimbursement for its employees and create more flexibility in their budget.
“One of our sites is a 90-mile roundtrip, so I’m really interested in seeing the reduction in mileage reimbursement,” Mengoni said. “Employees can just hop on a computer wherever they are instead of driving in, so we save a lot of time and money, and it doesn’t take them away from the participants that need them.”
Moving into the future with Zoom
With Zoom, UCP Seguin is able to easily coordinate effective training sessions and meetings with its staff, giving them more time with participants and saving the organization thousands on mileage reimbursements. It has also allowed participants additional time with UCP Seguin employees, which can help get them more comprehensive job and skills training.
“With Zoom, participants have the ability to ask the presenter questions during the training sessions rather than watching a pre-recorded session,” Mengoni said. “And being able to ask these questions firsthand leaves them better prepared to handle these kinds of situations.”
As UCP Seguin continues to refine and streamline its operations, Mengino plans to implement Zoom Rooms across the organization, providing a space for employees to meet and collaborate to create more of a team atmosphere.
“Right now, whenever high-level staff and I have a meeting where we all have to participate, we all attend from our individual computers even though we’re in the same building,” Mengoni noted. “Having a Zoom Room at our locations would give us a place to participate as a group, which would be really beneficial.”